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Ask Steven

Allround excellence, and ten centurions all in a row

Steven Lynch answers more of your questions

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
16-Aug-2004
The regular Monday column in which our editor answers your questions about (almost) any aspect of cricket:


Tony Greig: an England first © Getty Images
I recently read that Tony Greig was the first Englishman to take five wickets in an innings and hit a hundred in the same Test. Who was the first person to do it, how often has it happened ... and has anyone done it on his debut? asked Syd Barrington
Tony Greig was indeed the first person to achieve this feat for England, against West Indies at Bridgetown in 1973-74, but overall it has been done 26 times in Tests to date - five times by Ian Botham. Jacques Kallis, Mushtaq Mohammad and Garry Sobers are the only others to do it more than once. But the first man to achieve the feat is not a particularly well-known name. Transvaal's Jimmy Sinclair was a hard-hitting batsman who, in 1898-99 scored the first century for South Africa in Tests (in fact he scored their first three). He combined that inaugural century, at Cape Town, with 6 for 26 as England were shot out for 91. It was all in vain, though - England ended up winning by 210 runs. The only man to do this on Test debut was New Zealand's Bruce Taylor, who slapped a breezy 105, from No. 8, against India at Calcutta in 1964-65, and then took 5 for 86. Click here for a full list of allrounders who have achieved this feat.
What is the greatest number of Test centurions in one batting line-up (I think the current South African team might have eight)? asked Michael Sturmfels from Australia
There have been three teams which boasted ten players who scored Test centuries at some point in their careers. The first was South Africa, against Australia at Adelaide in 1997-98: the only one of that team who never scored a Test hundred was, oddly, one of the opening batsmen - Adam Bacher, whose highest score was 96. Pakistan, in the Asian Test Championship match against India at Calcutta in 1998-99, fielded a side in which the only man who hasn't scored a Test century was Shoaib Akhtar (who might, I suppose, make one one day). And a year later Pakistan did it again against Sri Lanka at Rawalpindi - this time Waqar Younis was the only non-centurion. All three of those instances, though, involved at least two players who hadn't scored a Test hundred at the time. The only country to field a side with nine players who already had a Test ton under their belts came in England in 1990, was New Zealand, in the second Test at Lord's. Only the last two on the teamsheet, Martin Snedden and Danny Morrison, missed out.
New Zealand's Gareth Hopkins was run out without facing a ball in his first innings in a one-day international (which could possibly also be his last when Brendan McCullum returns as wicketkeeper). Has anyone else managed this? asked Ben Martell from Wellington, New Zealand
The records aren't quite complete, especially for some of the early matches, but we have traced more than 70 batsmen who were run out without facing in an ODI. Of those, four others had their first such innings cut short in this way (all of them did, though, get another chance). These were Roger Binny, for India against Australia at Melbourne in 1980-81; Eddo Brandes, for Zimbabwe against New Zealand at Hyderabad in the 1987-88 World Cup; Ryan Hurley, for West Indies v Australia at Port-of-Spain in 2002-03; and Paul "Blocker" Wilson, for Australia v New Zealand at Sydney in 1997-98. And it happened to poor old Hopkins in the recent NatWest Series final at Lord's in July.
Has anyone made a duck in the first innings of their Test debut, and then scored a century in the second innings? asked Neil Smith from Twickenham
It's happened twice in Tests so far. The first instance was by Gundappa Viswanath for India against Australia at Kanpur in 1969-70 - he followed his first-innings duck with 137. Pakistan's Mohammad Wasim copied Vishy's feat against New Zealand at Lahore in 1996-97, with 0 and 109 not out. Andrew Hudson, of South Africa, did the opposite - on his debut, against West Indies at Bridgetown in 1991-92, he made 163 and 0.
During the recent Test in Jamaica, a fourth-wicket partnership of 120 (68%) dominated Bangladesh's second innings of 176. Does this constitute a record for a completed Test innings? asked Mark Alexander from Killara, Australia
Rather surprisingly, that instance at Kingston, when Habibul Bashar and Manjural Islam Rana put on 120 out of 176, comes in a long way down the list - there are actually 22 instances of one partnership making up 70% or more of an innings total. The highest percentage of all was achieved by Sri Lanka, against South Africa at Durban in 2000-01, when Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene's partnership of 168 for the third wicket made up 77.78% or the final total of 216.
I heard recently that Ashley Giles had taken the most Test matches to get to 100 wickets. Is this true? asked Andrew Shirley
That's actually very unfair on the King of Spain, as the mugs in the Edgbaston Shop mistakenly described Ashley Giles recently. Some 12 bowlers - four of them England spinners - have been slower to 100 Test wickets, in terms of matches played, than Giles. Slowest of the lot by far was Carl Hooper, who took his 100th wicket in his 90th Test, well clear of Jacques Kallis (53 matches) and Garry Sobers (48). Then come Ray Illingworth and Trevor Bailey (47), Ravi Shastri and Wilfred Rhodes (44), John Bracewell, Intikhab Alam and Ian Johnson (41), Phil Edmonds (39) and John Emburey (38) - all slower to the landmark than Giles (and Tony Greig) in 37 matches.
Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo. For some of these answers he was helped by Travis Basevi, the man who built Stats Guru and the Wisden Wizard. If you want to Ask Steven a question, e-mail him at asksteven@cricinfo.com. The most interesting questions will be answered each week in this column. Unfortunately, we can't usually enter into correspondence about individual queries.